Guidelines for Faculty Response to Academic Integrity Issues

No university can tolerate academic dishonesty.  Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty undermine truth and trust within the community. To ensure George Fox University embodies the character and promotes the ministry of Jesus, we strive to teach and practice the highest standards of academic integrity.

These guidelines are intended to help faculty members deal with suspected cases of academic dishonesty in ways that are fair, consistent, and rigorous, while encouraging both deterrence and reconciliation.  These are not binding rules. They are a tool, offering suggestions and examples to help the faculty member respond to each case according to its unique circumstances. Faculty should consult with their College Dean if any questions or uncertainties arise.   

Faculty action upon discovery of possible academic dishonesty

 Step 1:  Initial assessment of the evidence:

A faculty member who observes or detects a possible instance of plagiarism, cheating, or other form of academic dishonesty should collect and preserve evidence of the infraction, to the best of their ability. Material and relevant evidence will depend on the specific circumstances but may include:

  •  the faculty member’s own direct observation of student behavior (e.g. noticing a student glancing at another student’s test), preferably recorded in writing as soon as possible after the event.
  • documents produced by or turned in by the student which are flagged by the Turnitin function in Foxtale, along with the Turnitin report.
  • written work in a style or voice distinctly different than observed in the student’s previous work.
  • exams or other papers with highly improbable responses or patterns of responses, including response patterns that are the same as another student next to whom the student was seated.
  • conversations with the student and/or other students.
  • data from FoxTALE or other reports that track the timing and location of students during individual online assessments

Step 2: Communication with the student(s)

If the evidence gathered in Step 1 indicates there is a significant possibility that academic dishonesty has occurred, faculty members will generally communicate within five working days to the student(s) involved, and invite students to give their account of what happened.  Preferably this will be in a face-to-face meeting, although video conferencing is an alternative if a meeting is impractical. E-mail can also be used when needed (e.g. if the student has left campus for the summer and a video conference can’t be arranged for some reason).  Faculty members may ask questions to clarify the evidence, and often will take notes and/or have the student(s) create a written version of the events.  

Step 3:  Report to the Department Chair, the Dean, and the Office of Academic Affairs

 If the evidence after communicating with the student indicates it is more likely than not that academic dishonesty has occurred, faculty members should make an academic dishonesty report using the Academic Dishonesty Report by Faculty Form available here. On this form, the faculty member will provide:

  • The identity of the student(s);
  • The date of the alleged infraction;
  • A description of how the faculty member gathered evidence concerning the alleged infraction;
  • Copies of gathered evidence;
  • A description of what sanction(s) the faculty member will impose on the student(s) for this incident, defined as consequences within the involved course (eg., a zero on the assignment without opportunity to make it up; imposition of another more onerous assignment; etc.)  
  • How and when the student was informed of the allegations.

The form will be routed to the Academic Affairs Office and the Dean, with an email copy sent also to the Department Chair and the student. Other than the above-listed recipients, the matter is kept confidential.

Step 4: Determination if this is a repeat offense

Upon receipt of a report submission, the Office of Academic Affairs will consult its records to determine whether this is a first offense in the student’s career at George Fox University. If it is a first offense, the sanction imposed by the faculty member will generally be the only penalty.  If the incident is a repeat offense, the Dean may consult with the faculty member, the student, the Provost, and/or the Dean of Students before imposing additional consequences, if any, possibly extending beyond the affected course.  The Dean will send the student a letter describing the offense, the penalty, and the procedure for appeal, should the student wish to pursue an appeal. 

Step 5: Appeal to the Dean

After receiving a copy of the Dean’s letter, students have five working days to appeal the matter to the relevant Dean. The appeal needs to be recorded on the Academic Appeal by Student Form available here which is received by Academic Affairs and is shared with the faculty member and Dean. When an appeal is filed, the Dean generally conducts a comprehensive review of the assembled evidence and may gather additional evidence. The Dean may choose to meet with the faculty member and the student in person, or by video call if the parties cannot assemble with reasonable effort.

Step 6:  Communicating the Dean’s Decision on Appeal

If the Dean grants the appeal, he or she may revoke or alter the consequences imposed by the faculty member (and may adjust the student’s course grade as needed).  A record of this action will be added to the student’s file in Academic Affairs. If the Dean concludes it is more likely than not that academic dishonesty has occurred, the faculty member’s proposed sanctions will stand unless the Dean concludes they are clearly unreasonable. If the incident is a repeat offense, the Dean may consult with the faculty member, the student, the Provost or Dean of Students before imposing additional consequences, if any. The Dean’s decision is rendered in writing and delivered to the student, the faculty member, the Department Chair, and the Provost. This decision will include a reminder of the appeal process for the student.

Step 7:  The Academic Appeals Board

The student or faculty member may request a hearing with the Academic Appeals Board. The student or faculty member must submit a written appeal within five working days after receipt of the written decision from the College Dean. The Academic Appeals Board meets to hear the appeal. The Board determines whether it is more likely than not that academic dishonesty has occurred and/or whether the penalty assessed by the professor (or altered by the Dean if applicable) is reasonable. The decision is rendered in writing to the College Dean, Department Chair, faculty member, and student, and is final.